tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN September 17, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EDT
>> coming up at 12:30 eastern, ryan crocker, a former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan, will speak at the carnegie endowment for international peace. his remarks will focus on afghanistan's future challenges and opportunities. will have live coverage on c- span. presidential campaigns this week, the president is in ohio with several campaign events. one of them at 12:25 eastern. you'll be in cincinnati. later he will speak with reporters in columbus at 4:20. want both of those events live on c-span. tomorrow the president travels to new york city. later this week, several battleground states. florida on thursday and virginia
and wisconsin on friday. mitt romney is in california today. 3:15 eastern he will address hispanic business leaders at the u.s. chamber of commerce national convention in los angeles. we are planning coverage of his remarks that we will have later today. tomorrow he travels to new york city. wednesday, florida. follow the road to the white house on the c-span networks. tonight at 7:00 we'll hear what the voters in one of the key election states, virginia, think about the two candidates. the focus group is made up of undecided voters. it is organized by hart,. following that discussion at 8:30 we will speak with political reporters to get their thoughts on what virginia voters had to say. >> the boston globe posted a discussion thursday with reporters and analysts looking ahead to the final two months of
the presidential campaign. alice addressed the president's health care plan, voter id laws, and if you vote. this is an hour and 15 minutes. -- they addressed to the president's health-care plan, also. >> it was fun. we had been talking a lot of trash. >> for those of you and in the boston globe outreach program, who may have never been in our beautiful building, i incurred to consider becoming -- i encourage you to consider becoming a member tonight. for our members, if a reminder, the end of our fiscal year is in
two weeks. if you would like to still contribute to the annual fund, you will be will to do that as well. that that the circulation desk. it's very hard to say no to jimmy. if you get near him, you might end up giving. we so valuable this collaboration with the boston globe that we have done now for some years. this is our inaugural event tonight for the entire season. we are so pleased that peter, our great friend and collaborator, was able to pull this together. when he first spoke to monica about it and asked what would be a good date and we said what about the night before the election -- [laughter] they thought that might. be a little might i also want to tell you that following the election, sometime in prairie or march, we will all reconvene here and talk about
the election results in the same way. peter, we don't talk about you individually enough except to say you are the editor of the editorial column at the boston globe. peter went to penn and then to columbia to get a law degree. he went to washington and then came back to boston, which is home, in 2009. he's a wonderful colleague and collaborator. now i am turning the microphone over to him. >> good to see my microphone is working. thank you. [applause] thank you, paula and a special thanks to monica higgins who pulled together all these wonderful event. i want to welcome all of our subscribers who came to see the insider program and hello to all but members in the audience. many familiar faces.
we are taping tonight. for the question and answer, people will be asked to write their questions on a piece of paper and people will collect them. so just raise your hand so we can get your questions that way. what we are hoping to do it tonight now that the democratic and republican conventions are over -- and i was at both of them -- is have a discussion about where the state of the presidential election is right now. some of you may have joined us when we had a discussion with a different battle during the primary topic about mitt romney and some other republicans who were running. now governor romney is the republican nominee. he had his national debut down in tampa. that was followed by what most people consider a very successful democratic convention. [laughter] it's a good time to take stock.
i want to introduce our panelists. regretful to have mike, the author of a book called the new new deal. outstanding. mike and sasha are former globe reporters and have had distinguished careers elsewhere. they have covered politics. mike covered many things as well. he works at time magazine where he is one of their major national riders, rights cover stories all the time. his book, his second book -- and his first book called the swap is about the everglades, non- political, but to it is the definitive text about the everglades. his new book is really in depth look at obama's stimulus bill from all sides.
substantive debate, what it did, how it changed the way we live, and all the political issues theit. and all the political issues surrounding it. sasha wrote about how a japanese delicacy is taking over the world -- sushi. now he writes for slate and works on books. his latest book that's out this week is called a victory lab. how campaigns target individuals through social science research, a new way of identifying voter interests. our final panelist, charlie, was the republican candidate for governor last election in 2010.
before that he had a very distinguished career as probably the foremost expert on the state budget and a national leader in health care. turned an organization around. probably nobody better position to talk about an attitude aspect of this campaign, which is obamacare. nobody better positioned than charlie is. grateful he could join us. we want to have a discussion. i know politics can seem counter-pointy, but nobody here is representing any of the candidates, that i know of. i took down some memorable quotes from the convention and i want to repeat them since maybe some of you were not in front of the tv. and i will give them a chance to tell you about their books. i will start with mike. this is from paul ryan's speech talking about the stimulus.
"it went to companies like solyndra with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make believe markets. the stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism at their worst." is that the stimulus bill that we see in your book? >> i have learned a new word since i joined twitter. you are just trolling me. [laughter] itmy book is a revisionist histy of the stimulus dedicated to the proposition that everything you think you know about it is wrong. just about everything paul ryan said about it is wrong. the -- long story short, he focused on the chronic
capitalism aspect, which the republicans subpoena 300,000 pages about solyndra and did not find anybody doing anything wrong. the only inappropriate political pressure that has come up about any stimulus projects was in my book. valerie jarrett pulled a guy from the department of energy into the situation room and beat him up because he rejected a loan to a company that is a well-connected republican company, which is why this has not become big news. is mitch mcconnell and john boehner's favorite company. the republican national committee put out a five-page memo cherry picking several things from my book that they thought made obama look bad, but for some reason they did not mention this company. the reason paul ryan kentucky about it this way is the stimulus has become a political disaster for obama.
a year after it passed, the percentage of americans who believed it created jobs was lower than the percentage of americans who believed elvis presley was alive. >> that's a pretty big number though. >> it's pretty small. [laughter] a lot of people think the stimulus is the bank bailout, which it is not. it is the main street bailout. $300 billion in tax cut that went to more than 95% of the country. less than 10% of the country noticed it. i argue in the book how it really is changing the country. this is the purest distillation of what obama meant by. by i use it as a microcosm of the obama story, to show how he really has achieved some very big things, whether you like it or not. but, politically, it has become a joke. $800 billion of levitating trains to disneyland and mob
museums and snowmaking machines in duluth and all kinds of nonsense that's not an actual stimulus. so i use it as a metaphor. >> the title of your book sort of suggests a massive government program that does a lot of things republicans are complaining about. this bill was not something that sets up all these massive government-run agencies that are employing people like the conservation corps and the wpa and things like that. it did not do that, but somehow the branding went wrong an. people think of a new deal as a new deal-style jobs program. but it was not. new called >the neit the new deal. it was a response to economic
crash. it crashed in the fourth quarter of 2008. at that rate, you lose an entire canadian economy in 2009. pass the stimulus and then we had the best improvement in jobs in 30 years. but we improved from absolutely hideous to adjust bad. that has been a rough sell. but they have in common is the legacy has changed. obama did not create a big government, because fdr already did that. this was a lot of things that the republicans in the house voted for a $715 billion stimulus. paul ryan voted for that. obama's 787 dated dollars stimulus was on free enterprise. this was not radical stuff for the euro socialism that has been conveyed. mitt romney had the biggest stimulus plan of all the presidential candidates. on the republican candidates
something happened on a january 20, 2009. things like romneycare and the individual mandate as well as extending unemployment benefits and middle-class tax cuts and other things that are in the stimulus suddenly became politically toxic to republicans in washington, but not around the country. plenty of republicans around the country supported this. >> let's invite charlie and sa sha to see if they have any thoughts on it. president obama inherited an economy that was bleeding jobs and put a stop on that leak. things have not necessarily taken off from there, but he stopped a depression. do you guys think people are going to take that seriously and give him credit for that? >> my view is i think he committed the same mistakes that a lot of people in public life
commit, which is here overpromised on what it would do. the point behind the stimulus was to drive the unemployment rate below 8%. four years later and it's not below 8% and there's almost -- my recollection is we have 2 million people or 3 million people less working when it passed that we have today pursuing or looking for work. one of the things that has been interesting to me about the difference between the public sector and private sector, most of the time in the private sector, the objective with most of your constituents is due underpromise and overthe liver. that is usually where you want to be. is to underpromise and overdeliver. in politics people have a
tendency to overpromise. a lot of people did that on this. it almost does not matter what's in the details. people remember the big commitment that was made. >> pretty much attributes this to christina romer. >> and rahm emanuel. their idea was that they thought they had to put a jobs number on it. unemployment is a lagging indicator. the report they put together, they like to say we nailed to the delta. you can put that on your tombstone. they correctly predicted the effect of the stimulus would essentially add 2% to present signed to the gdp, which most independent economists put it at 2% to 4%, but things were much worse than they start.
unemployment went above 8% before the stimulus even started. it was not the fault of the stimulus. they had all kinds of caveat s, but nobody read those. it was an epic political mistake. >> if you look back at the fact they said plenty of things and it's become clear the white house knew internally that they did not project honestly a level of despair and concern. obama said at the inaugural that there's long work to do. they have a legislative agenda that was helped terraform and cap-and-trade and a bunch of other things. if they had said this is as exceptional a jobs crisis, it would have been a lot harder to go to congress and say let's spend tons of political capital on things that are not directly connected to economic growth. i think they made a gamble try
to get the stimulus through as quickly as they could by the end of the year and to move onto other things. it would have been very difficult to say we had one overarching need, which a short term economic growth. but this is a good segue to the next subject. this is a quotation from paul ryan, "college graduates should not have to live out their twenties in their childhood bedrooms staring up at fading obama posters." [laughter] i thought that was a powerful line, because it rings true. you think of people you know in that situation. some of them were obama enthusiasts. your book is a much more far reaching a look at the different ways campaigns can identify people who support them and get them out to the polls and find new ways. we all know that young voters where a huge stable of the obama coalition four years ago. very noticeable, young people
were active in politics. i did not notice a huge groundswell of young people, particularly when we were at the convention in charlotte. they canceled the outdoor acceptance speech, which would be the equivalent of what they did a four years ago in denver. but they invited all the people to go to a viewing party at the convention center in charlotte. i saw a massive line of people. it was not young people. the 20 somethings of charlotte did not want to come out to see barack obama. if you or advising him, what are some things they could do to get their votes out? >> this is sort of the big question for especially tacticians on the left that i write about in my book, which is a large sector people who voted once in their life, so the 2008
think, what can you do to mobilize them again? something i right in my book, the rise of people using it drug trials for politics but, basically, where voters are guinea pigs. >> subjects. >> and you are able to measure cause and effect and figure out what causes somebody to vote. we come away with an understanding of things we have often thought about elections as being a contest to change people's opinions. we are increasingly weit as a game of figuring out who can alter their behavior is. a lot of the efforts that mobilization are universal. they are things about behavioral science.
the best-documented method of getting somebody to vote. there was an experiment in michigan in 2006 and they sent people a copy of their voting history. dear, peter, your record as a voter is on file and it at the suffolk county board of elections. here is what you did in the last six elections. you did vote in the city council election and not in another election. and here are your neighbors voting histories. there's another election coming up, as you know, that got out people voting by 20% more. and the man who sent that out got death threats. people want to fit in with better neighbors. one of the things they figured
out of was how to soften this. usingime they're letters specifically targeting first-time voters in 2008 who have not voted since then. they cannot develop habits of voting. once people develop habits of a voting it, they keep coming. coming sending a letter that peter, i want to thank you for being a voter, i saw that you voted in 2008. you may know that another election is coming out. i hope that you will be voting in november." they're using these behavioral tools to motivate people. less than six months ago romney could been a crosscutting candidate who might have persuasive appeal to get soft democrats who were disappointed
obama to a defect. romney's polling numbers across categories, he has failed to be that type of candidate. the question for people on the left in the obama campaign and their allies, super pacs, the state party's, are these people going to support us, it's not that, it's can we change their behavior and make them vote? that is something they've not yet become habitual condition to do. >> i want to give you guys all a chance. the dynamic that a lot of people had assumed through tampa was the romney campaign was trying to run to iton the kind of arguments charlie mentioned earlier, that obama is not -- has not lived up to his promises, the economy is not good, give someone else a chance. >> that would have solved the
stimulus promised. >> obama did not live up to it appear now the perception is that argument alone is not going to do it. >> i agree. corrected the republicans miss a big opportunity? >> >> the president spent $100 million on negative ads in the swing states over the summer refraining who romney was. and they were enormously was that happened without any real organized response from the other side. one of the things i learned as a candidate is braces are partly about telling your story and making your case and framing who you are. it's also about realizing the other side will do everything they can to frame you into something you don't think you are. or you are. my wife and i and my kids used to watch some of the stuff that was on tv during my race and they would just laugh. they would look at the tv and
laugh. i would say to them, i know you think that's funny, but the problem is -- [laughter] a lot of people in massachusetts don't know me and probably believe it. >> maybe they thought they would get to spend more time with tube. -- with you. the issue -- i found this out a different way, one of the things i did after the election, a democrat was a friend of mine sent me karl rove's book. it is a pretty busy read. if you want to learn about what an interesting guy thinks about politics, it's worth it. when he was a teenager, one of the things he figured out -- and it framed his whole way of thinking about politics for the rest of his life -- was there's a lot of people who are registered to vote who don't show. up,show
if you can just get your team to show up, you can win a lot of elections. it's a huge issue. as social media becomes more and more prevalent and more and more people -- i want my kids these days and the way they work with technology and relate to it, it's completely different than the way my wife and i do. i think that's going to have a huge impact on how people go about trying to get their team to show upped. i'm not sure we are ever going to get more than 70% of the registered voters to show up. so that creates a big opportunity for somebody getting people to the polls. >> the subtitle of my book is "the hidden story of change in the obama era." he had a team obama in 2008 and
everybody wanted to go and vote for the guy, hope and change and excitement. people like being part of a proud, feeling it was the cool thing to do, what everybody was doing, part of a cause. i think obama has really struggled this time around. some of his advisers feel very strongly that he can run on change again even though there's a hidden story of all the stuff that happened. but it would feel like they are dancing in the end zone when americans are not feeling very happy about where things are, they say. they argue about this stuff all the time. i have been very surprised. you can see them starting -- he has embraced the phrase obamacare, saying obama cares. he is starting to embrace the automobile bailout. he has even embraced the stuff that was in the stimulus like middle-class tax cuts, doubling
renewable energy. even though it does not say stimulus. he has not really said change happens. i wonder. -- iyou wonder >> i d wonder what you think. >> some changes started happening a decade ago because certain technology and tools became available to people in politics and commercial marketing. it's not a coincidence this stuff happens after 2000. our politics are entirely in the shadow of florida and the narrowness of that election. it demonstrates two things to people who work in campaigns. one is how polarized thate moderate electorate is. matt dowd started writing a memo even before the supreme court had ruled in december of
2000, looking ahead to bush opposing reelection in 2004, saying we are a polarized country and this election will not be decided by battling over a swing voters, modern independents in the center. if you think about the clinton years, this was a paradigm with thought of, how elections were waged. he cited a statistics that in 1984 at the polls it was 26% of voters in the country had cast a ballot that included a democrat and republican at different levels. by 2000 it was down to about 7%. that is the environment we are in, basically. parties every line. people are democrats tend to vote. vote -- people who are democratics tend to vote democratic.
that is the -- campaigns -- we talk about campaigns with the paradigm they are a big debate on people deciding how to vote when the fact that is most people's votes are predictable and campaigns know this. \ they're averaging out at 48% or 46%. with 7% undecided maybe. there are a few obama voters who must be convinced to defect to omney and vice versa foprr romney. >> i agree with you guys that there is a significant divide out there. defining the divide is an interesting question. some people say it is social
issues that divide people and lifestyles. the heartland has a different sort of social issue values than the people on the coast. but others suggest it is something deeper, that at a moment when there is global competition and so much economic insecurity because of the global competition, it that one answer to that is the democratic idea of shoring up the safety net, to make sure your pension and health care are really strong, since there's going to be turbulence in the economy. the other response to that is, why should our fortunes be tethered to irabn and the straits of hormuz or the greek debt crisis or whatever? we need to double down on main street and promote individual values. whether that is possible or not, there is something comforting about the idea that the big forces are being turned off and
we are going to be doubling down on free enterprise and community enterprise. where is the divide? >> i think it's probably all of the above. sasha knows that most of the people who work in the campaigns are trying to figure out which one matters the most to you. somehow they will try to get their 51% based on how to hobble things together. about afteri wrote the election after being in people's living rooms, most voters care a lot about something. but the number of different somethings that are out there, it's really not big. the economy is a really big deal. i was shocked at how many different things people think
about this stuff, it's fundamental. >> in both campaigns i noticed, the extent to which the values debate between the two parties came into a really sharp contrast. a number of republican speakers quoted aobama who was talking about the importance of government investment in education and roads and things like that and that nobody's really out there alone. but he said it in a way that suggested he was telling "mompreneuer" as you did not really do it yourself, that it was all society that did it. republicans really double down on that. it was a staple in almost every speech. susana martinez, a popular republican governor of new mexico, said about the security business better parents started, "my parents grew that small
business from an 18-year-old starting a bingo parlor to more than 125 employees in three states. there was helped along the way, but my parents took the risk, they stood up and you that they believed they built themselves." that was pretty powerful. but the democrats really seem to turn the tables on the republicans very strongly. the more prosaic argument that bill clinton made was, "we are all in this together is a better philosophy than your all in it alone." obama kind of address it directly when he said about the importance of free enterprise and his belief in free enterprise, then he said we also believe, in believe a word of the heart of our founding, at the essence of our democracy, the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to each other and to future generations.
seeing democrats stepped forward and start claiming the founding documents, this is what this country's about, elicits up a very high level philosophical mano a mano. -- >> when mitt romney told paul ryan they wanted a big philosophical debate, after the first 48 hours i don't think the romney campaign invested particularly in having a big debate about austerity or the size of government for about making sacrifices today for long-term personal health, all the things we thought we were going to get. >> they say romney's heart is not in it, that is not that pure. >> they are flailing at the moment. the comments on egypt and libya the last couple days and before that talking about the chicago school strike and try to pin
that on obama. it suggests romney has given up on making this about job creation or the economy. does not seem to have sustained the ryan trigger debate over the question about the size. size. -- about the size of government. there was supposed to beat an aesthetic distinction between the parties. it does not seem that it was part of a broader argument over the course of the week in tampa or since then for the romney campaign. >> do you think the democrats have used it as a reason to ever broader argument of their own? >> i think they did. they had been getting ready to run against the ryan plan even before we had any idea that romney was on -- that ryan was
on romney's short list. money spent trying to define romney was a well-planted, deliberators effort during the ummer to look at bain's business record, romney's goal at the company, is job creation record in massachusetts and his personal finances, his investments overseas, and the tax returns of his. stipulated, unquestioned leadership on the economy and ability as a job creator. so they say might be good at running a business. he definitely was not good for america even if he was good for shareholders.
his success is either irrelevant to your well-being or possibly was predatory. as long as that is ambiguous enough for you to not put your confidence in him, we are fine. i think that's what they did all summer. the romney campaign through a bunch of tactical, strategic probably miscalculations, including still not having an answer on the tax returns. they have sort of let it go on. >> ted kennedy never showed any bodies tax returns and nobody ever seemed to care. i think there was a bit of a double standard on this. >> is there a double standard? most presidential candidates have released more than romney has, both democrat and republican. >> i don't know how many years of tax returns the presidential candidates have released. how many people ever remember
caring one way or another about whether the presidential candidates release their tax returns? [laughter] i don't think the romney administration was as prepared for that question as it probably should have been. i also think one of the things i learned as a candidate is just because you think an issue is dead does not mean it is. it's always interesting to me to find out what the media and another team will to focus on, how they will go added, and when they will decide when the issue is over. that is important, because everybody is human. the barometer of what is news and what is not, they will give people the benefit of the doubt and won't give it to somebody else it. that's just the way it works. >> if we look back at the five months or so from one romney pushed santorum aside until tampa, part of what did was to
allow a void to exist whether talking about bain or the tax returns could sort of win voters' attention and allow the media and obama at campaign folks interested in feeding this on a daily basis to go to this. romney had very little to say. he did not say anything about the economy even though he was saying i want to talk about the economy. an underlyingon assumption that everybody knows i've been successful in business and have done a great job. especially in a country that did not know him a lot better than massachusetts voters knew you, to tell his own story. he did not tell much about what he did at the olympics or baiwht he did at bain. he would not even go stand in
factories and create news on a daily basis. we were not talking about the economy on his terms. >> this is both sides seem to this is a base election. romney had to get through the primary, which was base. he did take some positions in that primary. it was basically how can i get to the right of everybody was coming after me on everything? when you look at polling, democrats are sometimes popular and sometimes unpopular. on social and economic issues, particularly. and even on foreign-policy after iraq, on the issues, the democrats do better. the tea party has done very badly except in the republican primary.
romney has gotten himself out on some limbs. he says i want to talk about the economy, which means the economy sucks and i want everybody to know that. but when it comes to public policy, with the national media is not particularly interested in public policy, and to the extent that he gets specific, it's only going to cause some problems either with his own voters or with potentially persuadeable voters. >> here's where you get into a problem. here's a quote from mitt romney in his acceptance speech. "we must rein in the cost of health care by repealing and replacing obamacare." that was virtually the only reference he had to help care. there are two issues embedded. one of them is, is obamacare really so bad that the
republicans can take it on squarely when you seen the democrats will sneak in with a few more positive things about it? it's poll numbers are trying to go up a little, the number of people who support the affordable care act has been increasing. also, the idea that whatever our problems are, obamacare has not yet picked in. so is that what is causing increasing health-care cost right now? and cannot get away with saying that? >> i used to write a blog when i was with the harvard pilgrim. i wrote that i have so many issues with the status quo in health care that any reform plan would be better than the status ". i certainly believe that obamacare is worse than the status quo. i don't think it solved most of the fundamental problems are health care system has. i don't think it did much of anything to deal with the cost problems. it did not do anything about the fact we have a system that under
pays primary-care and cognitive services at exactly the point in time when our populations aging and most folks have chronic illnesses and what they need more than anything else is help with managing what i would describe as their core morbidities'. that is in the sweet spot of primary care and mental health and what those services are supposed to be about. they got hit harder than almost anybody coming out of that legislation. two things people think about obamacare. that it raises the cost all the time. -- that the cost raises all the time and that it did not do much to stop that. and that it increases the federal deficit. it does both of those things. i used to write a lot about what i would do instead. mike, this would be a good question to ask you, because i
struggled with this issue as. several reporters wrote columns my wife thought it was pretty funny. how do you talk about policy matters in a substantive, serious way, at a level where it's understandable and at the same time it meaningful? what ends up happening is i would go 60 feet into the ground and was everybody. but then if you talk about it appear you get accused of not being. . the whole question about finding a middle ground is really hard. >> i don't know and neither does barack obama. i tell lot of stories that they are wrestling with in the
white house. they thought they had a very simple -two-part message. we are doing tax cuts and we are also doing spending. we are saving the economy in the short term and we are transforming the economy long term with clean energy and lower health-care costs and education reform and new economic. we are doing stimulus now because we are in an economic emergency, but we will get into fiscal responsibility later. obama says they're cutting taxes for 95% of the population but raising taxes for 2%. there is two-part message is. the republicans had a one-part message -- no. and that was a lot simpler. it's been a lot easier to understand. people say bill clinton should
be the secretary of explaining things. that he somehow brings it all down -- it does not seem to me is doing any kind of magic. he just has a little longer talk and people are not forced to listen. it's very difficult. i do not blame people. sasha and i are paid to watch this stuff. charlie, it's part of his job. we know about some of these little details and where people are fudging the truth. but most people don't. these sound bites are incredibly powerful. it does come down to who's got a better one. >> if you were a voter now looking at these tidbits candidates and you hear romney say i am going repeal obamacare. about half the time he just says repeal. no specifics offered on what the replacement would look like.
when people are really upset about health care, blaming it all on obamacare, it may be effective. when people to think about going into the voting booth, would they not say, we're getting rid of obamacare, but he is not said what would replace it. so the default position becomes the status quo, which is so awful that a lot of people believe any reform is better. how will this end up? >> the big question is how many people are going to vote on this side of the federal deficit? that's my number one issue. i have three kids and i feel i am dooming them because i don't live in the country that says we should pass on our debts to our grandchildren. i am traditional. i was brought up that you try to
make sure at the end of the day the bills are paid. most of the people i know who have an issue with obamacare, when you talk to them about it, it's not so much about whether it's good or bad for health care, it's that they don't think it will help the federal deposit expanded think it can make it worse. for me, that's a defining issue more than anything else. depends to some extent, peter, on whether -- there areiked - -- millions of variations on this theme. if you ask how i feel about the electorate when it comes to health care, there's a whole bunch of people who have pretty good coverage and think it works. that's a pretty big number. there's a whole bunch of people who are on medicare who worry a
lot about their health care and about medicare because they are of an age at a time in their lives when it's a lot more important than it was 10 years or 15 years before. as we get older, health care becomes a much higher priority issue. i don't know how the back and forth on medicare will play out, but i think for a lot of folks for whom medicare really matters, whether they think obamacare is the order that for medicare, that will have a lot to do with what they decide. >> elizabeth warren, in her speech, one of the things was the returning of $1 billion from insurers because the provision in obamacare that says its 80% of what you take in has to be used on patient care and not administrative overhead. insurers have returned a billion dollars to customers. people are perking up their ears
when they hear about that. >> i think it's 90% in massachusetts. what people pays, attention to, if you take a billion dollars and spread it across the population that's involved, i think it's a few dollars. i think the way you get it is due an investment in your premium the next month. the real question becomes if your premium is high to begin with and you get a small adjustment, you may not notice. you don't know the reason you're getting it is because it was part of this legislation that said big only -- that you have to spend 80% on health care.
somebody will have to point that out to them. >> one thing i have been wondering, there is such cynicism about the ability of anybody in any branch of government in washington to do anything meaningful to people's lives that i wonder whether it is the administration or congress or a particular piece of legislation can ever be credited by a large percentage of the population anymore for actual improving benefits to people's lives, just because there is underlying cynicism about the institutions. this is one of the themes of mike's book. that the administration never got credit for things in the stimulus, especially the tax cut that, which wasn't the largest in history that nobody ever. knew happened and you have a rebate.
if congress has a 12% approval rating, it is never going to occur to people that anything that changed in their lives is due to that institution. >> there may be something pulling worse than congress these days. that is bain capital. have the democrats successfully created another demon? the threat of corporations. >> yes. we are in a moment when they may be opposed and philosophical terms if we are having a debate over government regulations. americans are comfortable with the idea that many big institutions are predatory and that includes big government and big business. those are not diametrically opposed assumptions. >> republicans accused obama of representing big government.
obama accused romney of representing big business. >> that does not mean a voter necessarily has to choose one over the other. that could be in terms of the debate. we should be clear, campaigns have debates and candidates have debates with one another that are not necessarily helpful and changing voters' minds. romney has and elite constituency. obamacare is what the wall street editorial-page says every day. and what romney says about the role of big business because he's been raising money. there's nothing illegal about that, -- >> obama has the same problem. >> obama has constituencies in the labor movement, public employee unions are huge part of the democratic coalition and a huge source of manpower and
resources going into an election at. talk in abstract terms of what you want to do in government, you don't say because you don't want to antagonize your allies. >> people are fixating on the agenda in washington and the position of the republican party has been very much to say these things are not working, so it stirs up a lot of anger. given that obama is pulling ahead right now, and election were held today, most people feel he would win. would it take away be income disparity is a real concern? distrusting corporate giveaways and quick profits at the expense of the average guy is something really on people's minds and dust has not been discussed because obama over the last
three and a half years has not pushed that button and all the attention has been republicans attacking what obama's solutions are? occur toenly gone to people? >> the debate does not have to be about that. i think right now, based on what we can tell from the polling, voters don't even think economy is so horrible that they would count incumbent solely upon that or they don't blame him fundamentally for the bad state of the economy. and romney is an incredibly unpopular nominee who is not trusted on a slew of domestic and international issues. when you have a structure of the race that is like that, there's a very small burden on obama to
make the race about anything else. they have on some of the social issues. they hope that it's mobilizing, especially the women's issues and reproductive stuff. i don't think they need to refine the economic abate. -- debate. >> i would just say that neither candidate has cracked 50% and hardly any of the swing states. it's pretty clear, the notion that everybody loves this and dates that, i don't know,. the president is an enormously likable guy. even if you think the countries on the wrong track, which is 65% of voters seem to think, at he runs 20 points ahead of that, which is unheard of, very
unusual. he's done a really good job of making the case that i inherited a problem, i am trying my best, and it's just going to take much longer than i thought. >> he sold that. >> and he spent 100 and dollars on why mitt romney is a bad guy. and no real response coming from the other side. that turned out to be an enormously effective piece of work. you are still talking about race that most of the states that are going to decide the election 48%, or 43% and we will seek. -- see. i don't the think it is anywhere near as overt as you think it is. >> i have not -- i don't -- >> the debates will be more important. >> if i could just, one lesson
of all this, we have this polarized country, people who did not like obama from the beginning still don't like him. his numbers, after the stimulus the bait, have been unbelievably stable. but tea party went nuts. there's a revolution happening in the country, health care, so terribly unpopular! people liked financial reform much better. how's this on to play, that going to play it? it has been very stable. couple of lessons. the actual mechanics of politics is going to be about getting your people to vote. but for policy, one thing it shows is you can do a lot of stuff and you can do your agenda and my book is about how this guy who had not a lot of new ideas, kind of the same old
ideas, but then he went ahead and did them and none of them were popular. some of the fact is whether he has been successful or unsuccessful. they have not changed his numbers. he is still pretty popular. he is still popular, but not too popular. he is at a decent position, but not a great position. the student loan thing, that is great politics. very stable things. as long as you have the power, you might as well do things rather than agonizing over the politics. >> we have to invite people now to start thinking about their questions. we have 10 or 15 minutes. think about it.
monica will collect the questions. you can finish your thought. monica will collect questions. finish your thought. >> people do not know a lot about policy. it's complex. there is no good reason why even real educated voters know whether the market has a need for what they are doing. voters interpret policies through the lens of whether they like the party or the individual. you know, i do not understand how the health care industry works. i do not understand how insurance companies work. that is not my expertise. people who like barack obama thought that his health care plan was pretty good. people who did not like him thought it was pretty bad. it goes back to whether they
understand incredibly complex piece of legislation. we see that to some degree on foreign policy. voters need to feel if the person is on their side and not. >> people take their cues from their party leaders. for the deficit, you can just as easily imagine a democrat saying that the deficit is the biggest issue because look at what happened under bush and look at how paul ryan voted for every deficit this and that. for most voters, i do not like it because of those dirty liberals. >> we should go through these
fairly quickly. i will nominate one person to answer because we have a lot of questions right here. the want to talk about the impact of the auto industry position for present obama and mitt romney. that is a really good question. in romney's words, the auto industry gets the elevator and the workers get the shaft. [laughter] romney has established the midwest as a crucial battleground. obama is not the popular there. he has as of the industry bailout in his back pocket. mike, tell me, what will the impact be of the industry bailout? >> it put michigan out of reach for romney.
right? we agree on that. he is not trying to claim that he was for it all along. it is one of those things where you do not know. maybe we would have lost 1 million although manufacturing jobs. certainly the people who said that general motors would be doomed were wrong. you could see that the whole osama bin laden is dead and gm is alive. >> basically it may save the day. >> sasha, why have republicans pushed for voter identification? there are very few cases of voter fraud. there has been a large but identification laws that were
pushed by right-wing organizations. basically requiring photo id's for people to vote. a disproportionate number of minorities do not have cars. drive out to the polling places. how will this play out? >> people try to size up the problem. >> some of the electorate could be affected by it. individual pinpoint voters who lack ids, we contact them and sort of run a system to get them to physically get documents beforehand. it is a huge statistical -- the
logistical challenge. >> it is a big problem for the democrats. >> they take it very seriously. >> you want your base to come out. >> quickly moving on. charlie, obama over promised and under delivered. to what extent is his underperformance is the republicans unwillingness to concede anything? this is a big deal. >> obama had a super majority in the senate and had congress for the first two years he was there. >> no, he did not. >> he had 60 votes in the senate. >> four months. after spector switched and scott brown won he had 60. >> anyone who thinks he did not have the majority of this legislature and the bully pulpit and all the rest is
kidding themselves. he is not taken seriously in the deficit. he made a big spiel about stimulus now and cut the deficit in half later. some of us are still weighing in -- still waiting on that one. most people thought the budget he has submitted are now worth -- not worth the income they were printed on. this is a message to the voters that he does not care very much about that issue. >> sasha, this one is for you. neither side references the supreme court. will more people be alienated if they bring this up in regards to social issues? the supreme court -- there have literally been abortion suits.
they were concerned about the akin comment. how serious is abortion? who wins? >> i think the voters know very little about the supreme court. voters are persuadable, 12%-15%. there's a bit of research, low information voters. frankly, they decide late because they do not pay attention or they are uninformed. -- underinformed. they don't know how many states are in the union. they would not pass a citizenship test. the supreme court is an incredibly abstract concern. it is to be used for active as --activist voters on each side. and they're now incredibly vivid and real debates that both sides are involved in. it could be about gay marriage or reproductive rights.
the akin stuff. i think people can engage these debates without talking about the supreme court. >> next issue for mike. outsourcing -- how can we create american jobs in a global economy? gold economy, american jobs, the suggestion to me is that romney himself have various incentives to do things overseas. how would that play out? >> i am not sure what the question is? >> how can american job creators create jobs in america? just a reference generally to outsourcing. >> outsourcing -- no one likes it during a campaign. it is not a coincidence that even the romney and obama are both free traders, romney is
running ads of obama of outsourcing wind turbines to china. we have insourced wind turbines we have doubled our manufacturing content made in the u.s. romney is doing a lot of china bashing. obama accused him of not being enough of a china basher in the past. ultimately after the election is over, i think the status quo will -- >> most people in washington, i think, a majority think that the biggest problem we have with respect to international global competition is our corporate tax rate. it is too high. it is riddled with all kinds of exemptions. i thought there was a fair amount of agreement that one of the things that should happen is that we need to reduce our
rates and their rid of those -- and get rid of those exemptions. it would make our tax cut generally simple, easy to understand, and more competitive. it is a shame that that idea was alive for about three weeks and they got lost. we do have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. it is a problem. >> this is a very good question for you. i thought bill clinton's most compelling point was on romney's plan to lower taxes. he called for a major tax cut beyond what we how right now. -- what we have right now. what he said is backed -- lower taxes have to be economically neutral. by means of closign tax -- closing tax loopholes without naming any of them. clinton said this would impact the middle class inversely.
the deficit is about our kids. romney will really increase it. romney will really increase the deficit with this big tax cut. that revenue would go toward the new tax cuts. you do not even get to the current deficit. >> interesting. he has not really said anything, but he did talk about a new tax policy. >> he did not say it in the speech. >> in my view, people use the tax code to raise a lot of money to support candidates. that is what it is therefore. -- there for. i think it is inefficient and anti-competitive. we need to fix it. i think romney would be more interested in fixing it than obama. look at obama's performance. he did not deliver on the
things that he said he would deliver. he certainly did not deliver on any of the things that are important to me. >> can romney help convince independent voters of this without giving details? this tax cut plan covered by closing loopholes. is clinton correct that this plan is not possible? a possibility? latter part of it. i do not think romney has done anything to make this a debate over the specifics of that tax policy. he has done very little to draw attention to that. he has not engaged on that. when we want to talk about the economy, he says we should get rid of regulations and be more competitive.
the things that campaigns do to fund that conversation in terms of what it wants, i do not think -- they have not done those things. unemployment is where it is. the economy is bad. then they will look for an alternative. as i said earlier, i think you see a little bit of a romney flailing of it. he is trying to grasp at new issues. he decides to make this about big policy distinctions like we thought it would one month ago. we still have about six or seven weeks left in this election. we are starting to see the clues that romney is looking for a way to redefine the terms of this debate. >> one person asked me about the group and journalist. this is a left-wing kind of
service or their rescinding ideas to journalists and stuff. i was never part of journalism. so that answers that. [laughter] journalist, as he cannot answer this one. i think we covered most of the issues. questions. to finish up, i want to give each of you a very brief chance to talk about what you think we will see in the next two months. >> then in february you will play what we actually said. [laughter] >> what are some of the dynamics? >> i think the debates are very -- are going to matter a lot -- if you live in a swing state,
you'll see a great number of ads, probably negative. >> we get a lot of them in new hampshire. >> the most interesting thing about the election four years ago was that most people thought it would be about iraq. on september 15, the world financial markets froze. everything became about the economy. we thought that this risk would personalities of the candidate. i wonder if what is happening in the middle east will turn into something much larger from now until election day. it can never tell exactly what it is that will create the context on election day. that might turn out to be a much bigger deal than we ever thought it would be. >> i was taught that their campaigns for operating on multiple levels. i wrote about how campaigns could evolve and really
committed differently with one household than their neighbors. and how there are more channels including targeted web advertising. a campaign can have a discussion with a set of individuals and across demographic individuals. it receives different behaviors. the day to day big news story we are talking about does not necessarily where the campaign is devoting their resources. there was back and forth yesterday about egypt and libya. that does not mean that obama was spending his money talking to people in ohio about what -- or that mitt romney was talking to people in florida about. be aware that they are missing the secondary, tertiary levels of conversations taking place.
we might be surprised that the election was about something different than what we thought it was about. we're following it in the newspapers and on cable. >> i think it will be ugly. [laughter] it is interesting. it is unusual to have two candidates that have a positive message about america. there is no question that this is an extreme base and election trying to fire up your people. that guy is scary. that guy is awful. not only that, the flip side of firing up the bass and trying to depress the other guy's base. i think there's going to be ai think go be a lot of that. obama does not seem to want to run on his record. it would probably help him win a vote. -- help me sell some books.
and romney does not want to run on his plan other than things will be different. change we can believe in, i guess, because you need to believe. i think it will be nasty. neither guy seems to really like each other. whatever kind of breaks the were -- there were in 2008, whether it was because of the phenomenon of a black candidate in a general election for the first time or because of the circumstances of eight years of bush, i do not know. there were certain lines that were not cross. -- crossed. this time, i think there will be lines that will be crossed. >> well, on that note. [laughter] i want to thank everyone for being here. we have some wonderful books for sale. mike's book has been on "the new york times" best-seller list. it is a terrific book. sasha's book gives you a great
>> looking at the presidential campaigns this week. the president is in ohio today. he will speak with supporters in columbus and you can watch both of those live on c-span.org. mitt romney is in california we're planning coverage of his remarks. we hope to have it for you later today on the c-span networks.
ial candidates will mee will face off in a town hall meeting with questions posed by the audience at hofstra university in new york. the vice presidential candidates will debate thursday october 11 in danville, ky. entucky. live coverage on c-span. coming up at 12:30, ryan c rocker will be speaking. live coverage here on c-span at 12:30 eastern. tonight at 7:00 p.m., we'll hear
what voters think about the candidates for president. it is organized by the hart research associates. then balz about with dal what virginia voters had to say . >> i am looking to find the on filtered truth -- the unfiltered truth. sometimes to get so caught up in the beltway. one show i really enjoy is "washington journal." you get to know what people are thinking. a lot of times you have morning interviews. i know conservatives and
liberals are thinking. i can blend my argument before walking in the door. >> c-span, brought to you as a public service by your public television -- by your television provider. >> robert hale testify about whether the military will be able to meet the goal of what .udit readiness he testified along with comptrollers from the army, navy, and air force about the plan for a new auditing systems. >> i called the committee to order. i want to welcome everybody to
today's hearing and i appreciate our witnesses coming in to talk about the challenges. i would like to welcome robert hale, elizabeth mcgrath, gladys commons, dr. mary sally matiella, assistant secretary of the army, miss marilyn thomas, deputy assistant secretary. thank you very much for being here today. you share the responsibility for managing $700 billion an accounting for nearly $2
trillion in assets. i want to thank you for your service and for the commitment you have demonstrated on this .ssue, a it is clear that you're making a tangible progress forward. this is a follow-up to the reform panel which was appointed by adam smith in july of fy11 to carry out a comprehensive review. the purpose was to oversee the financial management system and its capacity for providing useful information. i like to thank mr. conway and mr. andrews.
we have a better understanding now. this is an important aspect for many reasons. every dollar we corral for national defense budget matters, especially because of impending cuts. it determines whether our war fighters have the equipment they need to do their jobs. this is the prism through which we view discussions and why i am pleased to have this discussion today. i anticipate a number of other members will join us and i would like to ask for unanimous consent that they be allowed to
participate. i will recognize them for five minutes after all members have had an opportunity to question the witnesses. i will turn to our acting ranking member for a statement he may have. >> thank you. thank you for being here. accurate information is critical. a look forward to your testimony. >> at this point will turn to our panel members for their opening statements. >> thank you. >> if you put your microphone up to you. >> i thought i would give an overview. >> that will be fantastic.
>> we will do that jointly. >> very good. thank you for the opportunity. we submitted a statement for the record and we will summarize it briefly. we remain committed to meeting our audit goals. why is it important to achieve audit ability? it is the law. it will help us make better use of taxpayer resources. the most important reason that we need to do this is public confidence. i don't think we will convince
the american people that we're good stewards of their funds unless we pass and audit pass. we know where we're spending taxpayer dollars. with rare exceptions, we pay our people and vendors on time. you would see massive problems with missed payments and none of that has happened. we felt audit tests -- we fail audit tests because the internal controls on the sufficiently strong and consistent. these are problems we can and will fix. we have a workable plan that focuses on information. we have everybody pulling in the
same direction. we have a supporting governing structure. and accountability that begins with secretary panetta. we're seeing meaningful progress. a navy that is showing audit ty and defense agencies that are now focusing on uditability statements. our efforts are critical owl like to turn to -- and i would like to turn to death mcgrath
-- beth mcgrath. >> this is part of a broader effort to improve business and we continue to make steps. the steps include better definition of our target environment. we continued to push hard and address the appropriate process. strategic planning measurements continue to increase. a process that addresses modernization and sustained funding. the implementation enables
governments for entire portfolio by a single review board. this has been significant for us. all aspects of a project and have a fit into the broader business conversation. virtually everything. this helps us make better investment decisions and reinforces the business outcomes that we're trying to achieve. we retired 120 legacy systems in 2011. the number is approaching 200 in 2012. our modernized systems environment includes planning
which will improve financial management and accounting organizations. each system is at a different step of its life cycle. we are proactively addressing each one of these challenges like business process re- engineering and the culture challenges associated with .t.lementing a new it. systetm. we're also developing a capability. should order repair cycle time -- shorter repair cycle time and better scheduling of maintenance activity. it will not enable audit by
itself. we need to meet and sustain our goal of whaaudit readiness. >> systems are critical to this. we have committed leadership, starting with leon panetta. he always shows interest and ask questions about this topic. we have the full support of our secretary, the chief management officer. we have the support of our chiefs of staff. we have all met on this topic. and relevant members of our leaders. we have commitment in this department to take action.
there are problems and challenges and not much time to solve them. but we are addressing these challenges. we have a certification program as well as some specific audit training. we have consistent financial controls. we are taking a number of steps to do that. we have to sustain the momentum . we're grateful for the support that we've gone from the congress. congressional attention is one effective means to make sure this is a high priority. we have encountered budgetary
uncertainty including no fewer than four shut down drills. they have generated planning efforts. times i spend most of my time planning for things we hope it did not happen. dealing with these actions is sapping the time we could be spending on other things. i take this seriously. i started in 1994 and i'm still trying as the dod comptroller. that concludes our joint opening statement. i would suggest army, navy, air force, if that's ok with you.
>> good morning. thank you for the opportunity to testify today regarding the army's work to achieve audit readiness. the secretary and general and i committed to improving financial management and becoming auditable. as required by -- the efforts to increase financial accountability goes hand-in-hand with the call for a leaner, faster, and more adaptable army. a more agile army is more possible if we have reliable financial information to inform
our decisions. we achieved a significant milestone that supports our audit readiness. on july 1, the army completed the schedule deployments of the general funds enterprise business system. this system is designed to comply with audit requirements. more than 25,000 users are using ss 28 commands. a transformation that requires a change in our day-to-day business and a shaft in our culture and faces significant challenges. -- and a shift in our cultur.e.
the strategy addresses each of these six concerns. leadership engagement, accountability, internal controls, competent workforce, this is architecture, and compliance. audit readiness is part of the plan. campaign top leadership has communicated the critical nature of audit readiness across the enterprise . military and civilian. in april, the chief of staff sent a message to wall general officers informing them of the importance of audit readiness. we have criteria in the annual performance plans of all senior executive service civilians.
we are engaging commanders and helping them accountable for implementing effective internal controls. comprehensive communication and training efforts. we have trained more than 8,000 personnel in audit readiness principles. we're using the system to broaden our reach into cost effective manner and enabling users to assess the -- i establish the army of financial management work force working group to identify the required work force skills and staffing levels that will support our management transformation. we are strengthening internal
controls and control assessments. at the end of june, we reached two major milestones that demonstrates how far we have come. t asserted audio readiness. an independent auditor will validate the assumptions for the mandate. the first resulted in a qualified audit opinion at three installations that highlighted the standardization of business practices across locations is in place. the second exam evaluates our eternal control the environment.
the army asserted audit readiness for three missile programs. it will conduct an exam to validate this assertion. we developed a business architecture which announced -- allow us are system -- we are conducting assessments and material feeder systems using the financial information systems manual which provides a guideline to follow when conducting the audit of the federal agency. i am confident it will be fully supported as independent auditors have already confirmed to be compliant with the
standard information structure. it is about 93% compliant. we have achieved some significant accomplishments in the last 12 months. we received a clean opinion and appropriations received. we received a qualified opinion for exam one. i'm confident we're executing a sound plan that will achieve the mandates. our plan is sufficient resources and has the full support of the army's top leadership and has achieved several milestones to date. i look forward to working with members of the committee to ensure the continued improvement
of the army's business environment. thank you. >> thank you. miss commons? >> good morning. thank you for the opportunity to provide an update on the work we're doing it to achieve audit readiness. we appreciate your focus in this area. the department of the navy remains fully committed. we have a detailed plan and believe we're on track to accomplish goals necessary to achieve audit readiness. our business process owners and service providers are working hand in hand to accomplish the tasks necessary to improve our business processes. in some cases, the business
process owners at the senior executive level have taken the lead and to ensure the controls surrounding the business process are effective. they have demonstrated the functional ownership that we need by taking the initiative to implement the changes required for audit readiness and monitor sustained efforts. the marine corps continues under audit. we are leveraging the lessons learned. where they have implemented processes that meet audit standards, we have incorporated them in our detailed plan for the entire department and share them with other departments and defense agencies. this year we're focused on current year activities and i'm
hopeful we will receive a positive report. the department asserted in major defense acquisition program was audit-ready. a review validated that a financial transaction is associated with this program were accurate and that reasonable controls were in place. they issued an unqualified opinion. we have received unqualified audit opinions on the completeness of the majority of our military equipment. we have assessed our civilian personnel pay and the travel processes. we have we mediated those across
the business enterprise. documented the process and tested to insure the changes have been made and that they are working effectively. we're awaiting review by the independent public accounting for which should begin within the next several weeks. we have examined all of our business processes and completed at least one round of testing to identify any deficiencies which preclude audit readiness. we're in the process of making the necessary changes to repeat those deficiencies. we are examining the general application controls in our business systems. we will complete this fall a thorough assessment of the navy ert.
the federal information systems controlled audit manual. i am pleased with the significant progress we have made. we have embraced audit readiness to correct longstanding issues that were not priorities in the past. achieving audit readiness is not without challenges. our systems were not designed to achieve a standard demanded by financial audit. changes are required to sustain our efforts. it will take time to implement all of the necessary changes. we're prioritizing those changes, particularly the systems changes. we know our business process
needs to be strengthened and enforced. we have identified the key controls in each business process. the challenge is to make sure the controls are implemented across the department's and in sure that they remain in place -- and ensure that they remain in place. we rely on thousands of people inside the department of the navy to perform segments of our business processes. these dependencies require constant nurturing, consultation, close coordination to make sure we all remain in sync. we operate in a decentralized
manner, gathering the documentation required to support the millions of financial transactions we execute and having that documentation readily available for review is a substantial effort. these challenges are significant. we have included actions to address each of these challenges. i am encouraged by our forward momentum. the progress we have made. the relationships we have forged with our service providers. the support they are providing and the knowledge we have gained to date. i am cautiously optimistic we will meet our goals. i will be pleased to answer any questions you might have at the proper time. >> thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity
to testify today. let me confirm the air force's continued support in achieving audit readiness by 2014 and for all financial statements by 2017. their force is committed to maintaining the public's trust and developing a culture that values resources stewardship. air force leaders have emphasized the importance of all encompassing efforts, an all- hands effort. due to the commitment of leadership, we have made significant progress to date.
however, we view reaching the 2014 goal as having moderate risk. i want to share the progress the air force has made. we have received two independent opinions. an independent accounting firm issued a firm --- process reconciling over 1.1 million transactions with an accuracy rate exceeding 97.7%. the dod i.g. issued an opinion on our drones and cruise missiles valued at about $86 billion.
we have completed two assertions of audit readiness which represents 4393 end items. a dod i.g. examination it is under way for this effort. we anticipate a final report in november. we have submitted the radar system report assertion two months ahead of schedule and will contract with an audit team to issue an opinion. have made significant progress and are hiring additional contractor in organic resources
to allow us to continue making headway on more assertions and reduced schedule risks. we earned it an independent public accounting firm unqualified opinions to our major commands. we are completing corrective actions so that we can assert audit readiness on that next fall. we can assert those areas as audit ready in 2013. we'll kick off the initial testing for military pay and contract. our preliminary assessments are very encouraging. we face many challenges.
we do support the 2014 sbr assertion. the challenges to identify and implement a cost-effective improvements to support the state of budgetary resources goal. our enterprise resource system is critical to full audit readiness has had some deployment challenges. the air force operational center completed and operational assessment and highlighted some concerns and change management of our work force. we have corrective actions in
place. what we're hearing is very encouraging. we look for to continue to work with you in achieving financial statements. thank you for holding this hearing and out of fort to answer your questions -- and i look forward to answering your questions. >> i have no opening comments. >> i will ask the other panelists to give me their perspective. there was a bill which included a number of sanctions.
i want to get your perspective on that. if you believe you avoid that, your perspective would be. >> i think that would be a bad idea. it would increase the workload. they are a day-t0-day accounting firm. --day-to-day accounting firm. let me step back. we are concerned about a number of the sanctions that are in there.
there are several others i could go into. there is some uncertainty. we have over promised and under delivered for years. i cannot be sure for two reasons. there may be problems that come up. we go through sequestration and that will drain a lot of time. >> if you could pull the microphone closer. >> i want to get your perspective. there was a report recently published about the problems with enterprise planning with enterprise planning systems